Local governments collaborate on water resource management

Published 9:28 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Continuing statewide work to shift local water planning to a more coordinated approach, the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources approved nine new planning grants for the One Watershed, One Plan program. The Aug. 23 board action allocates up to $2,200,000 in Clean Water Fund grants to fund nine planning projects to address water issues on a watershed basis.

Historically, water resource management has been planned at the county level. County-level planning can pose challenges since water flows according to high and low points on the landscape, not local government boundaries.

In the One Watershed, One Plan Program, local governments combine information from their existing water plans, data and information from state water agencies and input from federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and citizen stakeholders. The resulting plans identify actions that address the largest threats and provide the greatest environmental benefits to high-priority water resources.

“One Watershed, One Plan plays a central role in our efforts to accelerate our goals to restore and protect Minnesota’s Waters,” said BWSR Executive Director John Jaschke. “Local governments are responding to the opportunity to come together with their upstream and downstream neighbors, decide what’s most important, and take action for clean water.”

BWSR has divided Minnesota into 63 suggested “planning boundaries,” which are based on major watersheds. The legislature set a participation goal in 2015 of all planning boundaries by the year 2025. So far, the five pilot plans have been approved by the BWSR board and thirteen groups are actively developing plans. These new planning grants bring the number of planning partnerships to 27.

The nine new planning areas are:

Hawk Creek watershed, which includes parts of Chippewa, Kandiyohi and Renville counties.

Joe River and Two Rivers watershed, which includes parts of Kittson and Roseau counties

Mississippi River Headwaters watershed, which includes parts of Beltrami, Cass, Clearwater, Hubbard and Itasca counties.

Nemadji watershed, which includes parts of Carlton and Pine counties.

Redeye River watershed, which includes parts of Becker, Otter Tail, Todd and Wadena counties.

Rum River watershed, which includes parts of Aitkin, Anoka, Benton, Crow Wing, Isanti, Kanabec Mille Lacs, Morrison and Sherburne counties.

Shell Rock River and Winnebago watershed, which includes part of Freeborn County.

Wild Rice and Marsh River watershed, which includes parts of Becker, Clay, Clearwater, Mahnomen and Norman counties.

Zumbro River watershed, which includes parts of Dodge, Goodhue, Olmsted, Rice and Wabasha counties.

More information about the One Watershed One Plan program, including a map of the participating watersheds, is on BWSR’s website at www.bwsr.state.mn.us.